One of the first signs of spring at my house is the Quince blossoming. We are fortunate to have three mature Quince trees on our property that were planted by the previous owners, likely decades ago. Quince is an ancient fruit that is a cross between an apple and a pear that was was prized by Greeks and Romans alike. One of my favorite poems to read to the boys when they were little was "The Owl and the Pussycat," which contains one of the most lyrical lines about Quince ever: "They dined on mince and slices of quince, which they ate with a runcible spoon."
The Quince fruit itself appears in the fall and is a pretty green color. I use them in Fall arrangements with acorns and pine cones. But I most enjoy the Quince in the Spring for their gorgeous pink and salmon colored blossoms. One of my Spring rites is to head out with my pruners and cut the branches to arrange inside. It is still too soon to gather branches from my property but I do have Quince blossoms to enjoy indoors! My good friend Laura Grier presented these three large branches to me as a hostess gift for a recent book club dinner party we hosted. She purchased them at Crimson and Clover, a great little flower shop here in Roland Park. Other great branches to purchase this time of year are Pussy Willows. WholeFoods usually has great bunches. But I am partial to the architectural shape and the pretty pink blossoms of Quince. Thank you, Laura! (Laura will be a guest blogger here as she has fantastic taste and a magical farm house in Maine she has lovingly restored that is an endless source of inspiration. Stay tuned.)